Safe Engine Starting

Maurizio Taddei

I think all modellers would agree that starting an IC engine on an radio control model aircraft is one of the most dangerous operations in the sport, even when taking the best precautions and following the recommended safety procedures.

Unfortunately, like most fellow modellers, I had to learn the hard way, when I accidentally drove my hand through a propeller to reach a loose tube. Some might interpret this as mindless behaviour, but trust me it's easily done, whether you have been flying for 20+ years or even more likely if you are a novice.

Safety procedures recommend standing behind the propeller line at all times, but unfortunately this is not possible when starting the engine in the traditional way. I did some research on the net, which inspired me to build my own custom engine starter, which enables me to stand behind the prop line at all times, therefore reducing the risk of accident.

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The custom starter allows me to have both hands on the model. The starter is activated by a remote foot operated switch.

Essentially the materials you need are:

  1. Starter
  2. A remote switch - or remove starter switch and set up on an extension lead
  3. Some flat 30-40mm steel
  4. An extension lead
  5. Heavy duty nylon ties

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Making it is fairly straightforward as the photos show.

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